Investigation of the Feasibility to Improve the Lighting Environment Under Hanging Baskets
In ornamental greenhouses, crops are often produced in more than one layer, e.g. one or more rows of hanging baskets or plant troughs are installed above the crop that is grown on the main greenhouse floor or bench. These upper layers of crop not only reduce the light level, but also change the light quality that reaches the lower level plants. It is a common phenomenon that plants grown under another layer of plants have stretched internodes, with soft growth, and increased incidence of plant disease. Whether this phenomenon is caused by the lowered light level, changed light quality or both is not known, especially in Ontario greenhouses.
LED lighting is a new technology that the Ontario greenhouse sector has expressed interest in adopting over the past 12 months. However, at this point it time, the technology is too expensive for commercial adoption and it cannot be used as a replacement for high pressure sodium lighting technology currently being employed in most Ontario farms. However, LED does have the ability to operate in specific wavelengths and could add missing wavelengths of lights in areas of the greenhouse where this is needed (e.g. under hanging baskets).
This project is designed to take light measurements at five Ontario flower farms to gain an understanding of the impacts on light as it passes through a hanging basket crop. This information will be used to determine if new technologies, such as LED lighting, can return the light back to prime growing quality and quantity before reaching the lower level crop. Future experiments to test these technologies will be designed and conducted following the completion of this project.